Saudi Arabia is well known for its abundance of desert and coastal snakes, such as puff adders and carpet vipers. The country is home to more than 100 lizard species and over 50 species of snakes. The habitats of Saudi Arabia range from plains and mountains, to arid and semi arid regions as well as valleys. A number of reptile species can be found.
Reptiles native to Saudi Arabia
Carpet Viper (Echis pyramidum)
The Carpet Viper is a species found throughout western Saudi Arabia, as well as in North and East Africa. The Viper commonly inhabits the rocky areas and regions with sparse vegetation. The venom of the carpet viper, or echis, is extremely poisonous. The snake is relatively small, reaching a maximum of around 35 inches. Although it is listed as least concern, its main threat is human persecution.
Arabian Cat Snake (Telescopus dhara)
The Arabian cat snake is native to Saudi Arabia. The snake features a large head, as well as a set of venomous fangs. Its body appears reddish-grey or reddish-brown with pale banded markings which can vary. The snake is nocturnal and its diet includes rodents, lizards, and fledglings. The Arabian cat snake occurs in the Arabian Peninsula and prefers mountains and hills over open deserts.
Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)
The puff adder has a wide habitat range, mostly sighted in the rocky grasslands of northern African and western Arabia. The largest specimens have been measured up to 75 inches in length. The species has varying appearances from yellow, orange, light brown to reddish brown with a pattern of dark chevrons. The puff adder is slow moving and nocturnal. It preys on small mammals, and possesses very potent venom.
Hook-Billed Blind Snake (Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus)
The hook-billed blind snake is a species native to Saudi Arabia. The snake is small with a pink skin and eyes that appear as black dots. The skin is covered in smooth scales to aid the snake in sliding through soil. The snake feeds on termites and ants and other soft-bodied insects. It is not venomous to humans.
Other reptile species in Saudi Arabia
Other reptiles found in Saudi Arabia include Saudi Cylindrical Skink (Chalcides levitoni), Farasan Racer (Coluber insulanus), Saudi Leafnose Snake (Lytorhynchus gasperetti), Saudi Pygmy Sand Gecko (Tropiocolotes wolfgangboehmei), Manser’s Black Racer (Coluber Manseri), and Burrowing Adder (Atractaspis microlepidota).